Robot Theater Summer Camps: Exploring with Cozmo & Advanced Programming

Exploring with Cozmo

Grades 6 through 8 (as of Spring 2019) - Residential Academic Program

Jun 16, 2019 - Jun 21, 2019 (All day - Sample Junior Scholars Institute day)

Final Performance: TBD. Free and open to the public.

Morning: Playwriting | Afternoon: Programming
On University of Iowa campus (Blank Honors Center)

The focus of this class is to learn the basics of dramatic story telling that incorporate robot technology (Cozmo, created by Anki) as part of the story. If you have written a script, story, or poem that you have been dreaming of seeing performed on stage, then this class is for you—our Cozmos will be your actors. If you have an interest in robotics and want to work with sophisticated technology, then this class is for you—Cozmo will introduce you to the world of robotics.

Teams of students will be working together to create these theater performances. This class is designed for students who are interested in developing their writing talents, but also welcomes students who don't see themselves as strong writers. Likewise, this class is designed for students who are interested in developing their programming skills, but also welcomes students who don't see themselves as computer programmers. No previous experience with writing, puppetry, theatre, or working with robots is required.

The class will start with an introduction to the elements of story telling and the conventions of how to put a play on the page. Then, using a series of daily writing prompts, theatre games, workshops, and dedicated in class writing time, students will fill in the details for a skit that takes advantage of the capabilities of the robots. These completed writing projects will be then programmed into Cozmo robots and performed on the last day of class! We will learn to program Cozmo using Code Lab (available through the Cozmo App) as well as Python.

Instructor Bios:

Denise Szecsei holds a Ph.D in Mathematics and is passionate about the learning process. She has taught classes in computer science, mathematics, chemistry, and nuclear engineering. She loves to keep up with new technological developments, and incorporate new technology into her classes and research activities. She has been working with Nao Robots for two years, and has taught robot dance and theater classes to students with a variety of interests and backgrounds, and loves to see how people of all ages express themselves through these robots.

For more information and to apply, please go to the Belin-Blank Center Summer Programs page*.

Past Camps

Robot Theater Summer Camp 2018

Robot Theater Summer Camp 2017

Robot Theater Summer Camp 2016

Robot Theater Summer Camp 2015. Check out this video!


* Note that participation in the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search is not required to attend the Summer Camp.

Blast: Advanced Programming

Grades 4 through 5 (as of Spring 2019) - Academic Commuter Program

Jul 15, 2019 - Jul 19, 2019 (All day - Sample Blast day)

Final Performance: 7/19/19 1-4pm in 208 NH. Free and open to the public.

"You will start each day with Cozmo the Robot, a robot with personality that evolves as you interact with it. You will start by interacting with Cozmo by playing games, and learning to control Cozmo though an iPad app. Then you will program Cozmo using Code Lab. Finally, you will see how to program Cozmo using Python.

After lunch, you will explore Lego Robotics, a fun way to learn how to design, construct, and program robots. Use your creativity while learning how to design and program task specific robots. You will review basic design, construction, and programming techniques that will serve as an introduction to the robotics world. You will work individually and engage in peer collaboration to create robots together!

You do not need to have previous experience with Legos, robots, or computer programming."


"Blast is an academic commuter program [...] designed to challenge students in their areas of interest and strength."

Questions and/or comments will be submitted to the camp instructor and support staff. Please provide an email address for return communication.